Tuesday, June 28, 2016

M3 Editor's Note: Breaking the Silence

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16,06-12 M3 Google Hangout Live
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I was so proud of the Democrats who walked out of a moment of silence held in the House of Representatives for the Orlando shooting. I wondered aloud in one of our videos about how long it would take for people to move on from the tragedy. It brought me a certain amount of sadness to think that people would move on from this and nothing would be done about it. I hoped that this time would be different, but at the very least I knew that I needed to make a change. I’ve always been a political person, but I thought that being so blatantly partisan would turn people away. So keep some of my partisan views to myself. That seem silly to me now, because issues like gun control and equal right mean too much to me to keep silent about them.

We also talked about the silence felt in our families and circle of friends. I feel so blessed to have people in my life who wanted to check on me to see how I was doing right after the Orlando shooting. I don't think I’ve made much ado about it, but I had quite a few family members and friends reach out to me to see how I was doing. At first it made me feel uncomfortable, feeling like the odd one out, but then I talked to Mark who had just the opposite experience. He got mostly silence with a few exceptions. It put my experience in perspective. So what if I felt a little weird about being the gay representative, there are worse things I could be. I’m always going to feel a little awkward about everything so I should be used to it by now.

I expected gun sales to go up after the most deadly mass shooting in American history. It’s because the conservatives aren’t just going to sit down and shut up. They’re going to use the statements of angry liberals to strike fear into their audiences and constituencies. There will be plenty of us who have righteous indignation about the level of gun violence in the US and we’re going to make some emotional statements. I’m not criticizing people for being in their feelings about what happened in Orlando. My issue is once the emotion has passed are you going to do something about it in the long term? You want to do something about homo-sexism and gun violence, but are you willing to fight for it over the long haul?

We are the reason the country is the way it is. No one else is to blame. We choose the leaders who write our laws. We make the unconscious decision to forget or become numb after these tragedies are no longer in the headlines. So I say to people, feel what you feel, say what you’re going to say, but when it's all over help us do what needs to be done. No doubt our enemies will. When the fervor has passed, don’t stop fighting for gun control and equal rights. Don;t stop calling out bigots who spark the kind of hate that drives someone to kill. Don’t be afraid of being criticized for exploiting the national tragedy for political purposes, because that is exactly what we need to do. We're trying to get every last drop of good we can find out of this senseless act and there is no shame in that. None at all.
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